Maureen Sibanda Shonge
Maureen Shonge.jpg
Born (1984-04-02) April 2, 1984 (age 38)
EducationUniversity of Oxford, UK
OccupationGender, Governance and Peacebuilding Specialist
EmployerUN Women

Maureen Sibanda Shonge is a Regional Policy Specialist for UN Women where she is an influencer of policy through evidence-based research to promote accountability and transparency on governance and political participation issues.

Maureen provides on-demand technical assistance to support UN Women’s 13 field offices in East and Southern Africa to advance programme development and implementation.


Currently, Maureen is a Regional Policy Specialist supporting 13 country offices in East and Southern Africa on governance and political participation issues. As a former Head of Governance, she managed a Women’s Leadership and Political Participation and Women, Peace and Security Programme including humanitarian action. Her experience spans supporting gender-responsive electoral processes, security sector policies; security sector training and policy development; as well as strengthening the role and engagement of CSOs in promoting gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment. Maureen has managed human rights education programmes which comprised of gender training in various human rights issues, conducted legal analysis, research and situational analysis on violence against women, nexus between human rights and conflict transformation, gender, peacebuilding and elections, access to justice and the protection of human rights for vulnerable and marginalized groups. She has a formidable track record in collection and analysis of data to inform policy dialogue as well as to build the capacity of key actors to enhance their ability to implement programmes to improve the state of the vulnerable and strengthen rule of law institutions. She is a well-respected influencer of policy through evidence-based research to promote accountability and transparency within state institutions such as Parliament, Constitutional Bodies and Government Ministries. Strong appreciation of strategies to influence legislative and policy making to create a conducive environment for the empowerment of women. Her competence in advocacy, mobilization, facilitation, collaboration and the coordination of sector wide intervention for the protection and promotion of human rights is reinforced by an extensive knowledge of international law and regional human rights systems including familiarity with intergovernmental processes. Maureen is well versed in the work of the United Nations, Regional Economic Communities, African Union and treaty bodies including reporting. Apart from being an excellent writer and speaker with the ability to articulate issues for debate, she is a Member of SADC Lawyers Association, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association and the Law Society of Zimbabwe.


Maureen holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University and a Masters in Women’s Law from the South East Africa Regional Women’s Law Centre (SEARCWL, University of Zimbabwe in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Law at the University of Oslo, Norway; as well as a Bachelor of Law Honors Degree from the University of Zimbabwe.

She is also a Fellow of The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF), Women’s Human Rights Programme (2013-2015) in cooperation with Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) the Network of East-West Women (NEWW), and Euro regional Centre for Public Initiatives (ECPI).